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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

AMCHA Initiative Letter to UC President Janet Napolitano


Last fall, University of California President Janet Napolitano's first official visit to UCLA sparked protest among students on campus who opposed Napolitano's appointment as president partly because of her past policies as secretary of  homeland security. (Daily Bruin file photo)
"This is nothing compared to Fousesquawk."


In the wake of a December 4 vote by the UC Graduate Student Workers Union 2865 to endorse a boycott of firms doing business with Israel (They are apparently still counting the ballots), the AMCHA Initiative has written a very thought-provoking letter to UC President Janet Napolitano asking for clarification on whether it is a violation for UC professors to use their classrooms as soap boxes to spout their personal political agendas..


From: Tammi Benjamin 
Subject: Regarding UC faculty and the Regents Policy on Course Content 
Date: December 8, 2014 at 9:39:10 AM PST

Dear President Napolitano and Provost Dorr,

As you know, on December 4th the UAW 2865, the UC graduate student union representing 13,000 graduate instructors, voted on a resolution calling for the union to join the international campaign for “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions” against Israel and urging its graduate student members to pledge their personal participation in the academic boycott of Israeli universities and scholars. In light of this vote, we are especially grateful for your having sent to all UC Chancellors a memorandum enumerating the university policies which prohibit graduate student instructors from using university classrooms to promote anti-Israel propaganda or an antisemitic boycott of the Jewish state, in particular the Regents Policy on Course Content, which states:

“[The Regents] are responsible to see that the University remain aloof from politics and never function as an instrument for the advance of partisan interest. Misuse of the classroom by, for example, allowing it to be used for political indoctrination… constitutes misuse of the University as an institution.”

The clear application of the Regents Policy on Course Content to UC graduate students raises the question about its potential application to UC faculty.  

In this regard, more than 40 UC faculty members signed a statement of support for the UAW 2865’s call to join the international BDS movement, saying: “As faculty, it is now our turn to support our student-workers, teaching assistants, and advisees as they take this bold and courageous step”.  In addition, more than 200 UC faculty, including several department chairs and program directors, have themselves endorsed the academic boycott of Israel.

Although we recognize that faculty have every right as private citizens to support student BDS initiatives and to endorse an academic boycott of Israel, we are concerned that these same faculty may try to bring their enmity towards the Jewish state and the promotion of efforts to harm it into their university classrooms and conference halls.  Unfortunately, those faculty who misuse the university in this way contribute to the creation of a hostile and threatening environment for many Jewish students, who report feeling harassed and intimidated by their professors and isolated from their peers.

Therefore, can you please clarify if the Regents Policy on Course Content that applies to graduate student instructors also applies to UC faculty members?

Thank you for letting us know.

Sincerely,

The following 22 organizations:

Accuracy in Academia
Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity (AEPi)
AMCHA Initiative
American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists
Americans for Peace and Tolerance
Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law
Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA)
CUFI on Campus
David Horowitz Freedom Center
Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET)
Hasbara Fellowships
Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel 
National Conference on Jewish Affairs  
Proclaiming Justice to the Nations   
Scholars for Peace in the Middle East   
Simon Wiesenthal Center 
StandWithUs
Students and Parents Against Campus Anti-Semitism
The Lawfare Project
Training and Education About the Middle East (T.E.A.M.)
Verity Educate
Zionist Organization of America



Cc:  UC Regents
UC Chancellors
California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson
California Senator Carol Liu, Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Education
California Assembly Member Das Williams, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Higher Education
California Assembly Member Shirley Weber, Chair of the Select Committee on Campus Climate
California State Senator Marty Block, Chair of Legislative Jewish Caucus
California Jewish Community Leaders
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“[The Regents] are responsible to see that the University remain aloof from politics and never function as an instrument for the advance of partisan interest. Misuse of the classroom by, for example, allowing it to be used for political indoctrination… constitutes misuse of the University as an institution.”

Wow. If that is indeed the university's policy, can you imagine how many professors are in violation?



"Uhhhh.......yeaaaaah."

I can't wait to read Napolitano's response.


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